...What exactly it is?
To understand Sexual Dysfunction in a simplified manner, let’s divide this term into two. While keeping the dysfunction aside, first we need to focus on sexual part. So let’s try and understand the concept of normal Human sexuality. It is said that-
“Human Sexuality is the integral and beautiful part of the wider psychic matrix”
So, why it has been said to be the part of psychic matrix? Have you ever thought about it? Dr. Helen Signer Kaplan in her book “The illustrated manual of sex therapy” precisely explained the impact of human emotions on the sexual inadequacy; and therapeutic correlation between emotions and sexual performance. (Kaplan H 1981) Yes! Sexuality has definitely related to our emotions and thoughts. In the past few years, we have witnessed major developments in our understanding of sex and sexuality, in all the three branches i.e. medicine, psychology and pathology the profound research has been done which infers that the human sexuality need multi-dimensional study to understand how and why sexual function gets disrupted. Sexuality cannot be understood unless we consider various factors related to that person such as biological, clinical, social, cultural, psychological, personal etc. Hence, sexual function of an individual varies from person to person. It depends upon every individual- his perceptions, concepts and ideas about sexuality developed from his own socio-cultural background. Also, it will depend upon individual’s own sexual feelings, emotions, attitudes and beliefs.
Now when the dysfunction occurs?
Sexual Dysfunctions occurs when there is a disturbance in the sexual response cycle or by pain associated with sexual intercourse. Sexual dysfunctions are highly prevalent, affecting about 43% of women and 31% of men. Scientifically, it is characterised by disturbance in sexual desire and in the psycho-physiological changes that characterise the sexual response cycle and cause marked distress and interpersonal difficulty. NORMAL SEXUAL RESPONSE CYCLE includes four phases viz. desire, excitement, orgasm and resolution.
Desire phase includes persons fantasies and desire to have sex. When there is lack of desire in a person, it is known as Sexual Aversion Disorder or Hypo-active Sexual Desire Disorder. Women are more prevalent in these disorders than men. (2:1ratio). Excitement is the next phase of cycle when erection happens in men whereas vaginal lubrication and expansion occurs in women. When there is disturbance at this phase, it is known as Sexual Arousal Disorders such as Female Sexual Arousal Disorder, Male Erectile Disorder. Erectile dysfunction is the most common problem seen in men. Next phase of cycle is orgasm phase when there is peak of sexual pleasure. Muscles of pelvic area start contracting rhythmically. In men, ejaculation of semen occurs at this stage. Disturbance at this stage is known as Orgasmic Disorders such as Female Orgasmic Disorder, Male Orgasmic Disorder, and Premature Ejaculation. Premature ejaculation is also one of the most common sexual complaints of men, with approximately 30% of population. Resolution is the last phase of sexual cycle where pelvic muscles relax and person feels general well being. (Masters W and Johnson V 1984) Also there can be Sexual Pain Disorders (i.e., Dyspareunia, Vaginismus), Sexual Dysfunction Due to a General Medical Condition, Substance-Induced Sexual Dysfunction, and Sexual Dysfunction Not Otherwise Specified. (DSM-5).
Sexual Dysfunctions affects life at various levels such as, Social, Professional, familial, and Psychological. Under Psychological domain, it affects interpersonal relationships between couples in terms of communication which can lead to conflicts & ultimately dissatisfaction. It may also leads to Infertility due to inability to conceive due to lack of successful intercourse (Richard D. & Burnette M 1996). This will further add the distress between couples in terms of fulfilling responsibilities & various roles. Like many other body processes when sexual function goes along smoothly, it is usually taken for granted and given little thought. But if sexual dysfunction is a problem in one way or another, it can be source of Anxiety, Anguish & Frustration that often leads to general unhappiness & distress in personal relationships. At the personal level of a partner, he or she experiences Loss of confidence, low mood, low self-esteem, negative thoughts about self, suicidal thoughts, unworthiness etc. This further becomes major cause for depression. This not only affects person who suffers but also the surrounding people in their family or society. Sexual dysfunctions can become cause of Divorce in married couples. As the number of patients are increasing day by day it is important to give attention to this issue and require addressing problems early as possible.
-©Dr. Narendra Yadav (MD-Homoeopathy)